(a) Authority to Proceed against Personal Property; Relation between Remedies against Personal Property and Remedies against Real Property. - All tax collectors shall have authority to proceed against personal property to enforce the collection of taxes as provided in this section and in G.S. 105-367 and 105-368. Any tax collector may, in his discretion, proceed first against personal property before employing the remedies for enforcing the lien for taxes against real property, and he shall proceed first against personal property:
(1) When directed to do so by the governing body of the taxing unit; or
(2) When requested to do so by the taxpayer or by a mortgagee or other person holding a lien upon the real property subject to the lien for taxes if the person making the request furnishes the tax collector with a written statement describing the personal property to be proceeded against and giving its location.
No foreclosure of a tax lien on real property may be attacked as invalid on the ground that payment of the tax should have been procured from personal property.
(b) Remedies after Taxes Are Delinquent. - At any time after taxes are delinquent and before the filing of a tax foreclosure complaint under G.S. 105-374 or the docketing of a judgment for taxes under G.S. 105-375, and subject to the provisions of G.S. 105-356 governing the priority of liens, the tax collector may levy upon and sell or attach the following property for failure to pay taxes:
(1) Any personal property owned by the taxpayer, regardless of the time at which it was acquired and regardless of the existence or date of creation of mortgages or other liens thereon.
(2) Any personal property transferred by the taxpayer to a relative (which shall mean any parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew, or their spouses, of the taxpayer or his spouse).
(3) Personal property in the hands of a receiver for the taxpayer. (It shall not be necessary for the tax collector to apply for an order of the court directing payment or authorizing the levy or attachment, but he may proceed as though the property were not in the hands of the receiver, and the tax collector's filing of a claim in a receivership proceeding shall not preclude him from proceeding to levy under G.S. 105-367 or to attach under G.S. 105-368.)
(4) Personal property of a deceased taxpayer if the levy or attachment is made before final settlement of the estate.
(5) The stock of goods or fixtures of a wholesale merchant or retailer, as defined in G.S. 105-164.3, in the hands of a purchaser or transferee thereof, or any other personal property of the purchaser or transferee of the property, if the taxes on the goods or fixtures remain unpaid 30 days after the date of the sale or transfer. In the case of other personal property of the purchaser or transferee, the levy or attachment must be made within six months of the sale or transfer.
(6) Personal property of the taxpayer that has been repossessed by one having a security interest therein so long as the property remains in the hands of the person who has repossessed it or the person to whom it has been transferred other than by bona fide sale for value.
(7) Personal property due the taxpayer or to become due to him within the calendar year.
(8) Personal property of a partner in satisfaction of taxes on partnership property, but only after the tax collector:
a. Has sold the taxing unit's lien for taxes against the partnership real property, if any; and
b. Exhausted the partnership's personal property through the use of levy and attachment and garnishment; and
c. Exercised the authority granted him by G.S. 105-364 in an effort to collect the tax due on the partnership's property.
(9) Personal property transferred by the taxpayer by any type of transfer other than those mentioned in this subsection (b) and other than by bona fide sale for value if the levy or attachment is made within six months of the transfer.
(c) Remedies Before Taxes Are Delinquent. - If between the date as of which property is to be listed and January 6 of the fiscal year for which the taxes are imposed the tax collector has reasonable grounds for believing that the taxpayer is about to remove his property from the taxing unit or transfer it to another person or is in imminent danger of becoming insolvent, the tax collector may levy on or attach that property or any other personal property of the taxpayer, in the manner provided in G.S. 105-367 and 105-368. If the amount of taxes collected under this subsection has not yet been determined, these taxes shall be computed in accordance with G.S. 105-359 and any applicable discount shall be allowed.
(d) Remedies against Sellers and Purchasers of Stocks of Goods or Fixtures of Wholesale Merchants or Retailers. -
(1) Any wholesale merchant or retailer, as defined in G.S. 105-164.3, who sells or transfers the major part of its stock of goods, materials, supplies, or fixtures, other than in the ordinary course of business, or who goes out of business, must take the following actions:
a. At least 48 hours prior to the date of the pending sale, transfer, or termination of business, give notice to the assessors and tax collectors of the taxing units in which the business is located.
b. Within 30 days of the sale, transfer, or termination of business, pay all taxes due or to become due on the transferred property on the first day of September of the current calendar year.
(2) Any person to whom the major part of the stock of goods, materials, supplies, or fixtures of a wholesale merchant or retailer is sold or transferred, other than in the ordinary course of business, or who becomes the successor in business of a wholesale merchant or retailer shall withhold from the purchase money paid to the merchant an amount sufficient to pay the taxes due or to become due on the transferred property on the first day of September of the current calendar year until the former owner or seller produces either a receipt from the tax collector showing that the taxes have been paid or a certificate that no taxes are due. If the purchaser or successor in business fails to withhold a sufficient amount of the purchase money to pay the taxes as required by this subsection and the taxes remain unpaid after the 30-day period allowed, the purchaser or successor is personally liable for the amount of the taxes unpaid. This liability may be enforced by means of a civil action brought in the name of the taxing unit against the purchaser or successor in an appropriate trial division of the General Court of Justice in the county in which the taxing unit is located.
(3) Whenever any wholesale merchant or retailer sells or transfers the major part of its stock of goods, materials, supplies, or fixtures, other than in the ordinary course of business, or goes out of business and the taxes due or to become due on the transferred property on the first day of September of the current calendar year are unpaid, the tax collector, to enforce collection of the unpaid taxes, may do any of the following:
a. Levy on or attach any personal property of the seller.
b. If the taxes remain unpaid 30 days after the date of the transfer or termination of business, levy on or attach any of the property transferred in the hands of the transferee or successor in business, or any other personal property of the transferee or successor in business, but in either case the levy or attachment must be made within six months of the transfer or termination of business.
(4) In using the remedies provided in this subsection, the amount of taxes not yet determined shall be computed in accordance with G.S. 105-359, and any applicable discount shall be allowed. (1939, c. 310, s. 1713; 1951, c. 1141, s. 1; 1955, cc. 1263, 1264; 1957, c. 1414, ss. 2-4; 1969, c. 305, c. 1029, s. 1; 1971, c. 806, s. 1; 1973, c. 564, s. 1; 1987, c. 45, s. 1; c. 93, s. 3; 1998-98, ss. 112, 113.)